More Than Just Cardio – The Impact of Participating in a Charity Race

More Than Just Cardio – The Impact of Participating in a Charity Race

Jun 09 2015

Did you know that many local walks and races benefit non-profit organizations?

By: Dan Fisher

Many people don’t.

You might be inspired to participate in a walk or run a 5k, half marathon or marathon as part of your own personal health and wellness journey. But these races benefit the community in more ways than inspiring fitness, they serve as effective fundraising campaigns for local and national organizations.

As you can imagine, running with a cause in mind is powerful.

There are so many experiences that touch our lives in various ways, so even if we don’t have a personal connection to a cause, we likely know someone who does. Having an athletic event tied to an impactful organization increases my drive to participate, not only to work on my personal fitness and hopefully achieve my personal best race time, but also to do something that matters for my community and make a difference.

For example, in 2013 I raised money while training and racing in the Detroit half marathon. My friend had lost his niece to childhood leukemia, at only 17 months old. The parents had requested donations in lieu of flowers at the funeral and this inspired me to choose the organization, Angels of Hope, when fundraising for my race. As you can imagine, running with a cause in mind is powerful.

This month I will be running a unique ‘race.’ I will be carrying the torch in the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America. When my employer – Bank of America – offered me this opportunity, my thoughts immediately went to a young man that I worked with in a previous career and how important the Special Olympics were to him.

Priority Health - Personal Wellness - Charity Race - Special Olympics

Prior to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, I ran a Max & Erma’s restaurant. The general manager before me had hired a young man named David, who was a Special Olympian. David medaled in weightlifting when I was going through my restaurant training — long before I was in management. Years later, I took over that same store, and David still worked there. His pride in his accomplishments was a motivator for our 80-person staff. We were proud of, and for, him.

This was my first experience with Special Olympics, and David’s passion for the organization, and the tremendous joy it brought him, resonates with me today.

Both experiences have an exercise component, but more importantly, they provided me with an opportunity to support worthy organizations that are important to individuals in my life.

I’m proud to have the opportunity to carry the torch in the relay, and I encourage anyone else who can appreciate the outstanding work the Special Olympics does to take part. Today, I have a neighbor and a stepbrother who both have sons on the autism spectrum. I am grateful to have an opportunity to play a small role in the organization’s success. I hope the Special Olympics can be for my friends and family, what it was for David and my staff.

For more information and to find out when the relay is coming through your town, visit

About the Author: Dan Fisher has been with Merrill Lynch since 2014 and has worked in the Financial Services industry since 2008. Dan currently resides in Canton with his wife Melanie and 5 year old son, Jack. He enjoys “fun runs” in his free time.